We mastered cyberspace navigation together.  From the comfort of our homes, Anita and a diverse group of us quilted friendship into something tangible, real, and lasting.  Memories made across a dozen years, from the seeding of our group at the tail of the last millennia to now, returned to me over this past week, each a priceless possession I’ll never relinquish.

At a time when most viewed people like me as social outcasts, Anita astounded by reaching out not with derision but with encouraging words, interaction, and within a short time, friendship.  She embraced fair play, she advocated for equal rights, and she treated all people as human beings worthy of respect and dignity.

Over a dozen years, we laughed, we cried, we supported, and we encouraged.  We even debated with occasional effervescence, but always from a place of friendship and respect for the person behind the words.  The memories exist in numbers too great to articulate in a brief tribute.  In reality, she deserves a million words of homage and not two hundred and thirty-two.

She touched my life in a significant way, and she received tenure in my heart.  My friend, now walking the boundary between tranquil water and spectacular sands, shorts clad, barefoot, and smiling, I hear rumours of glorious sunrises.  Remind me of paradise in the midst of our next blizzard, Skeet, as you ever loved to do.

The above posted to a memories section set up by Skeeter’s family, a written tribute to her memory.  At odd times, her memory hits like a wave, washing emotion into me, misting eyes, just as they water as I write this addendum.

We built a community, rock solid, with all the nuances of family, the caring, the disagreements, the support, the humour.  In the days of my meltdown, I’d call her from my run – Toronto, Montreal, Gainesville, Laguna Beach, and who knows where else, and she calmed me, if only for a fleeting moment.

Moments ago, I saw her picture, again, and her loss feels impossible.  Life doesn’t quite work the way we wish it to, and we lose loved ones.

‘Cause I’ve got dreams
I’ve got my dreams to remember, oh yeah
I’ve got dreams
I’ve got my dreams to remember, oh yeah

~ Molly Hatchett

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